Monday, February 09, 2015

The Arcane and The Rational: Lovecraft’s Development of a Unique Mythos

My academic article on HP Lovecraft's development of his unique mythology was recently published in the Case Western Reserve University Discussions undergraduate research journal. You can check it out by clicking here...  Ia Ia Cthulhu Ph'tagn!  (It begins on page 22.)

Like the insipid, formless colour out of space, the article is already starting to spread through the internet world. It's been linked to on Tentaclii, an online research for all things academically Lovecraftian. That's kind of cool, because Tentaclii is one of the first places I went when was beginning my own research for the article. They have a much better copy of the article, where you don't need to page through it. Tentaclii's version can be found by clicking here.

I should warn you you can lose yourself for hours in Tentaclii's archive looking at all manner of Lovecraftian academia. It's a great site,  seriously.

I also found a link to the article on a Facebook page called the Swiss Lovecraft Society. Not sure how many people read that page, but it was kind of cool that someone across the pond found and posted it.

Finally, I've been told that the Lovecraft eZine would like to publish it as well. I was told so several months ago, but it has yet to happen. I'm eagerly awaiting publication over there as it is a bit more mainstream than the more cerebral academic research journal at CWRU. Fingers crossed.

Here's the abstract for the article:
The Arcane and The Rational: Lovecraft’s Development of a Unique Mythos 
The early 20th century saw the rise of a unique subgenre of science fiction and horror literature known as weird fiction. H.P Lovecraft, one of its more prolific and lasting contributors, is rightly considered one of the fathers of the genre. Like the rapidly modernizing world around him, Lovecraft developed his own universe and mythos that was itself a unique mix of old and new. He created monsters that would have been at home in fairy tales or the ancient mists of folklore. At the same time, these ancient, mythic evils were at odds with Lovecraft’s 20th century protagonists – men of education, breeding, and science. The inevitable result of their clash was death and madness on the part of the protagonist. 
Prior to Lovecraft, literature portrayed ancient religions and gods as benevolent protectors of mankind and the devout. Lovecraft subverted this and instead argued that the cosmos, and the god like beings that reside there, are indifferent to the plight of man. Tempered by his own rationality and atheism, he created a world that was unique only in its insignificance. An avid reader, Lovecraft understood the prior works of writers like Milton and Dante, and the concept of higher and lower worlds that bookend our own place in the universe. Heaven, hell, and the earthly world were places of equal size and influence. However, Lovecraft’s writing rejected this and instead minimized the human realm to a sliver, sandwiched between the pitiless depths of an indifferent underworld below and an infinite, cold, and remorseless cosmos above.  
This paper studies how, through stories like “The Call of Cthulhu,” “At The Mountains of Madness,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” and others, Lovecraft redefined both weird and traditional fiction. While perhaps unintentional, he nevertheless established new perspectives on science fiction and horror.

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